Getting students ready for work

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In the past months, I have shared with you the progress we’ve made toward Shelby County’s mental health court.

The first docket was earlier this month, the case manager is hired and busy working on everything. Everyone in the Leadership Shelby County group that brought this great project to life should be very proud.

I want to tell you about another project from the Leadership Shelby County 2009-2010 class. Every year many high school or technical school seniors graduate with no intention of going to college.

Not everyone is suited to pursue college and these students have shown the maturity to recognize that they will do better entering the workforce. Often, this is not an easy decision for the kids because of peer or family pressure.

On top of that, all through high school, so much attention is given to those students going on to college.

A Leadership project that will be incorporated into the Shelby County public schools this year is a Career Awareness Program for the non-college bound student. The CAP program will be for those students who are on the general diploma track and are likely to enter the workforce upon graduation. To enter the program, the student must meet certain ACT score requirements, have limited behavior and attendance issues, and have a good recommendation from local school counselors and administrators.

The CAP program anticipates placing five groups of 15 students each with five different employers for a half a day. The groups will rotate to the different employers over five days and each visit day will end with a lunch sponsored by a technical school. The program will conclude with a graduation sponsored by all participating technical schools.

From this experience, the students will learn directly from businesses in this area about what it is like to work in that business. The kids will learn about dress codes, educational requirements, benefits and compensation and career path opportunities.

I congratulate the Leadership Shelby County group and the participating employers for improving these students’ chances for success as they embark on their careers.

Jim Fuhrmeister is the Shelby County Probate Judge.